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INDIANAPOLIS – Frank Reich knows the dominance that was once there, and what has happened recently.
From 2012-15, the Colts rattled off 16 straight divisional wins, setting an NFL record.
But starting in December 2015, with Andrew Luck lost for the season, the Colts spiraled in a different direction against the division.
They are 6-9 in their last 15 AFC South games.
“For a long time, we’ve done very well in this division and that’s where we want to get back to,” Reich told his team this week.
The first-year head coach wanted to make sure that his young players knew the extra weight that comes with a divisional contest.
Currently, the AFC South standings look like this:
“The guys that have been around understand the importance,” Reich says of the Colts starting their divisional slate on Sunday.
“For the new guys, you just try to bring a little bit of context to how a division game counts and why it counts more than one game. Put up the standings in the division and show where we are in the division race right now. Show how important a win is in trying to establish our place in this division.”
Watching the Colts play in the division last season was difficult for Chris Ballard.
The general manager didn’t love what he was seeing in the trenches and thought a scheme change defensively would enhance the Colts’ ability to defend the mobile quarterbacks in the AFC South.
“I had some frustrating moments last year where I just thought physically we did not match up against teams, especially within our division,” Ballard said.
On Sunday, the Colts get a chance to re-establish their presence in the AFC South, before they don’t play another divisional game again until November.